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Getting to grips with body hair for men

WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

Back in the '70s a man wasn't a real man without a lustrous chest rug, a big tash and probably a hairy bum.

Fashions change and these days more and more men are embracing 'manscaping' which is the removal of unwanted body hair.

In the grand scale of things it's not a new thing. Apparently ancient Egyptian men removed their body hair with sticky beeswax and strips of cloth.

It's not considered girlie for men these days to have plucked eyebrows or a waxed chest - it's pretty mainstream.

TV and magazines are full of images of well-groomed (and in some cases over-groomed) men, just look at the likes of David Beckham, the casts of Towie and Geordie Shore.

We've spoken to grooming guru and online grooming editor of Men's Health Lee Kynaston for his top tips on tackling body hair.

Why do it in the first place?

Cavemen needed a good pelt of body hair for warmth. We wear clothes now so there's no actual physical reason to have it!

Some cyclists, swimmers and athletes whip off their hair to make them more streamlined and enhance their performance. Bodybuilders and models also like being smooth.

In fact, many men with a body they want to show off prefer the hair-free look.

Lee says: "If a man has worked hard on good pecs and abs they don't want them covered up with hair, they look better without."

He says, "Now manscaping is widespread. Men are casual and open about it. It's often girls who badger their boyfriends into taming their body hair before they go on holiday."

Chest and back hair

Chest hair, neatly trimmed, is acceptable for any man but back hair isn't as popular.

Clipping, shaving, waxing or depilatory creams can be used to get rid of chest, back and arm hair.

Lee says: "Everyone will find their own technique, for a lot of guys trimming is really easy. My advice is to start on a longer setting rather than a short one as you can't stick the hair back on!

"Shaving is simple and cost effective if you have a decent technique. If you can do your face well enough, you can do your body."

With shaving hair grows back within a matter of days, waxing can last for several weeks but the pain is too much for some men! Laser removal is a permanent but expensive solution and is not without risks.

Armpit hair

Generally a touch of topiary will do, many men just trim it back with some small scissors or a clipper. One rule of thumb is if you can plait the hair it's too long.

According to Lee Kynaston, if it's kept trimmed it's more hygienic and less likely to absorb sweat and cause body odour.

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